Title: Sounds of Love
Wanton Widows, book one.
Widowed baroness Cathryn Sibley craves financial security, scholarly recognition and passionate love equal to that of Fanny Hill. To marry Julian Ahlquist, the forceful earl who promises to fill all her lustful needs, she must break a marriage contract to a distant baron who promises only grief. But when the baron reveals her one major sin and spoils her chances for love, Cathryn must forgive herself before she seeks exoneration from Julian.
In the meantime, a light-fingered duke sets his sights on her and she hasn't the power to refuse him. Julian has his own past to shed-he's been in love with his father's beautiful mistress for twenty years. Cathryn soothes his old wounds and frees him to love again, but he discovers her secret in a distressing manner. A matchmaking novelist shows him the error of his ways and he humbles himself to secure Cathryn's freedom.
Author: Marilyn Kelly
Published: 1 January, 2014
Genres: Erotic Historical Romance
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Purchase your copy: Visit the Author's Website
I’ve been on a huge historicals kick as of late, and this one managed to tick all of the boxes as it kept me entertained, engaged and engrossed in the story from page 1. Marilyn Kelly has created wonderful main characters that are full of depth and emotion, and drafted secondary characters that add to the story even as some seek to derail the plans of Cathryn and Julian.
Cathryn is a wonderful heroine: naïve in only the way that a woman of her era could be, intelligent and learned she is determined to survive and make her way in the world with her scholarly translations. A widow just out of mourning, her major indulgence is occupying her dead husband’s seat in the Philological society, dedicated to literary criticism and linguistics, often informed by historical use and context. A rather pretentious group of men, they have allowed her this “indulgence”, not thinking that she has any substance to offer.
Julian is the president of the society, and he is brought up short when he realizes that beneath the beautiful female exterior is a brain of first quality: despite his initial scoffing. Thus begins his intention to seduce Cathryn, gifting her with a dictionary and a copy of the novel Fanny Hill. Set in the early years of the Victorian era, this novel is beyond risqué, and very enlightening.
What emerges is a spicy flirtation that quickly turns to seduction and love between the two. While there is a potential scandal that must be sorted and settled before Julian and Cathryn can have their happy ever after, the story moves at a quick pace with clever dialog and steamy moments as the two deepen their connection. Julian is enamored of Cathryn, for her everything: body, mind and personality, a rare find in men of his class, and even more unusual in that he recognizes and admires her intellectual pursuits.
Kelly has introduced several characters as secondary players in the story, each developed fully and integral to the story as it progresses. With the strictures of societal expectations, and more than a few obstacles in the path to ever after for Julian and Cathryn, this is a wonderful read that kept me engaged and intrigued from the first pages.